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Christie’s Leads A New Era In The Art Market

Christie’s realized in its New York Two-Week Spring Auction Series $828.8-million. The sale showcased important Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary Art, with the inclusion of the 11th Hour Auction, which benefited the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

“My Foundation has worked on environmental issues since 1998, and despite the great efforts by organizations all over the world, our planet is in trouble,” said DiCaprio. “The modern world is placing enormous pressure on the very natural systems that sustain us; we are destroying our forests, polluting the air and water, overfishing our oceans and facing overwhelming extinction rates of plants and animals. Consequently less than 2-percent of our Oceans and 12-percent of our forests and wildlands are protected. Nature is abundant, and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it’s too late. Given that less than 2-percent of philanthropic giving goes to environmental conservation projects, we are grateful that Christie’s and the participating artists provided this incredible opportunity.”

Participation in the Christie’s two-week sales was global, with 36 countries represented among the buyers, and 41 new world auction records set over the course of the series.

“During the electric two-week series of sales at Rockefeller Center, masterpieces soared above high estimates, setting new artist records. Not only did three works sell above $40-million, but the increasing demand for top quality artworks with prestigious provenance, across all price points was evident. This sustained growth, witnessed season after season, is driven by established collectors and new bidders eager for the art itself,” commented Steven P. Murphy, CEO, Christie’s International.

Post-War & Contemporary Art

“Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art department set a new benchmark for the art market, raising a staggering total of $638.6-million,” boasts the auction house.

Beginning the week was The 11th Hour Auction on May 13th, which proved to be the biggest wildlife charity auction ever staged as it raised $38.8-million and set several new auction records.

“The triumphant Evening Sale on May 15 raised an unmatched $495-million —the highest total in auction history. Including the Day Sales, the series of auctions set an astonishing 37 new auction records for the foremost artists of the last six decades, with three works sold above $40-million, nine above $10-million, 25 above $5-million and 88 sold over $1-million,” reports Christie’s.

Impressionist and Modern Art

Impressionist and Modern Art achieved $190.2-million, and the Evening Sale represented 35-percent growth from spring 2012, reports the auction house. In all, 34-percent of the works offered in the Evening Sale sold within estimate, and 29-percent sold above estimate, and four works sold over $10-million, ten works sold over $5-million and 36 works sold over $1-million. The strong sell-through rates of 94-percent by lot and 90-percent by value in the Evening Sale and 79-percent sold by lot and 83-percent by value in the Day Sales, represented a strong market underscored by bidding from 30 countries.

“Works at both the top end and the middle market level performed consistently well and several pieces in the sales demonstrated the lasting value of Impressionist and Modern art over time,” reports Christie’s.

The sale featured top-tier works by 33 leading contemporary artists: Kai Althoff; Banksy; Peter Beard; Carol Bove; Joe Bradley; Cecily Brown; Dan Colen; George Condo; John Currin; Zeng Fanzhi; Urs Fischer; Walton Ford; Mark Grotjahn; Andreas Gursky; Sergej Jensen; Anish K apoor; Bharti Kher; Sherrie Levine; Robert Longo; Adam McEwen; Takashi Murakami; Cady Noland; Raymond Pettibon; Elizabeth Peyton; Richard Prince; Rob Pruitt; Neo Rauch; Ugo Rondinone; Sterling Ruby; Ed Ruscha; Mark Ryden; Julian Schnabel; Rudolf Stingel.

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